By Kerry Dye
The Google Possum 2.0 update is a change to Google’s local SEO algorithm which started impacting local search results at the beginning of November this year. For many, the impact was catastrophic and it quickly became apparent this was the biggest change to local listings since the Possum update in 2016.
This latest update also appears to be targeting the same signal as its 2016 predecessor, prompting many SEOs to dub this Possum 2.0. In the FAQ below, we answer all your questions about Google’s latest local algorithm update and what it means for your SEO strategy.
What is the Google Possum 2.0 update targeting?
As with the original Possum update in 2016, early indications point towards proximity being the main target of Possum 2.0 (also being called the “Bedlam” update by some – the name given to it by Joy Hawkins).
In other words, user location appears to be a stronger signal following the update.
The easy conclusion to make from this is that you’re now less likely to show in the local pack if you’re outside the immediate location of a user when they conduct a search. However, things are never quite so straightforward in SEO and there are also cases being reported of businesses seeing an increase in visibility across multiple postcodes.
So what’s going on here?
Well, the data so far does point towards proximity now having more weight in Google’s local algorithm. But we need to keep the complexity of Google’s algorithm in mind and the number of factors being considered for each search. Proximity appears to be more important now but it’s not always going to be the dominant ranking factor for every search.
How big is the Google Possum 2.0 update?
It’s big. The initial impact was huge and a lot of businesses saw their entire local presence disappear outside of their own postcodes. Some dropped out of the rankings entirely. However, there was a significant correction in the days following the initial change, which resulted in a lot of businesses seeing partial recoveries.
Some of these recoveries have been drastic (almost complete), others not so much.
It’s not unusual for Google to adjust algorithms after their initial rollout and we’re still seeing some volatility, which means there could still be some minor gains/losses. It will take time for the full extent of this update to be fully realised and confirm the ranking factors targeted.
Who’s been hit the hardest?
It’s hard to say at this point. We know this isn’t an industry-specific update but there’s still too much volatility and not enough data to make solid conclusions. At this stage, businesses that have previously enjoyed a lot of traffic, leads and customers from local searches outside of their immediate area are suffering the biggest losses.
However, not all businesses in this position have been hit equally. Some haven’t even been hit all that hard, which points back to other factors like relevance, competition, etc. affecting the impact of this update.
What should we do if we’ve been …read more
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